The new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is here, and it isn’t just a mid-life cycle refresh. Ram has gone back to the drawing board, using what they have learned from years of tuning the 4th generation Ram Heavy Duty and making the 2019 model light years better. Not only did the Ram want to make the best Ram Heavy Duty truck, but they also wanted to build the best truck period.
The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is the most powerful, most capable pickup in the segment with a towing capacity of 35,100 lbs. and payload capacity of 7,680 lbs when properly equipped. Although the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is stronger and more capable, lightweight materials in the frame, powertrain and an aluminum hood help reduce overall weight by up to 143 lbs. The 2019 Ram 3500 also features the optional new Cummins 6.7-liter I6, High Output Turbo Diesel delivering a segment first and class-leading, 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque.
The new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty, pushes its big-rig styling into the future with its latest design. The Ram design team wanted to create a very bold, unique and yet recognizable exterior design. Designers used what they call an “interlocking” design, to improve aerodynamics and give the truck a stronger look.
Like the 1500, the crosshair is gone for 2019. Instead, Ram is introducing six all-new new grille designs that reflect on the Ram 1500’s style and yet still look unique to the Heavy Duty. The new front bumper design features larger openings which help airflow to the biggest turbo intercooler Ram has ever put in a truck. More than 20 sensors around the new Heavy Duty have been integrated to make them less visible. While a new removable air dam helps make the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty, the most aerodynamic Heavy Duty the Ram brand has ever offered.
Ram continues to offer the largest cab in the segment with the Mega Cab. The side of the cab carries a body-side character line that ties front fender and cab doors together. Powertrain badges are placed on the front fender in front of the doors, while the “RAM” text is now on the lower part of the front doors. Like the Ram 1500, the model designation badge is moved to the hood of the truck which highlight “Heavy Duty” in bold red text.
The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty continues to offer the popular RamBox Cargo Management System. This lockable in bed storage is not only versatile but is weatherproof, illuminated and drainable as well. RamBox is built right into the bed rails, allowing easy access without having to reach into the back of the bed of the truck to access it. RamBoxes also feature a new 115-volt outlet with up to 400-watts of power mounted inside the bin for the 2019 model year.
Three new headlamp designs are available based on the trim level, you are looking at, and all deliver best in class lighting. Standard on Tradesman and Big Horn/Lone Star models are the halogen headlamps. Mid-level trims like Big Horn/Lone Star, Power Wagon, and Laramie get full LED reflector headlamps and fog lamps, while the premium Laramie Longhorn and Limited get full LED projector headlamps with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) for up to 15 degrees of movement in the expected direction of travel.
Chrome lovers rejoice, as on the mid-level and premium trim models there are lots of chrome options. For those who are not fans of chrome, Ram is offering optional Sport packages on certain trim levels which will give you body-color bumpers, grille and mirror covers.
, and luxury were the goals set by the Ram design team. Coming off the success of the acclaimed all-new 2019 Ram 1500 interior, the Ram design team completely redesigned the Heavy Duty interior for the 2019 model year.
The instrument panel is all-new for 2019. Using the same instrument panel from the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, the Heavy Duty has a bold new appearance inside. The new dash moves the central controls up towards the driver, which improves the overall reachability and ease of use of the switchgear.
On HEMI-powered models, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty features push-button start and a first for Ram Heavy Duty rotary shifter. The new shifter area also intelligently groups new feature buttons, including Hill Descent Control, axle lock, and transfer case controls, when equipped. Models powered by the Cummins diesel engines will come with a column shifter.
The redesigned upper glove box acts as an open shelf for smaller items. On higher trims, the upper glove box is covered by a wood and metal accent that can slide upwards, hidden in the dash. The Laramie Longhorn takes advantage of this space with an actual burned-in branded “Longhorn” logo.
The reimagined center console is a useable, complex piece of art with more than 12 different storage combinations. Center stage, a wider docking area with optional wireless charging can hold a small tablet or 2 smartphones. A three-position sliding cup holder tray can be stowed under the center armrest to reveal a deep storage tub designed to fit a 15-inch laptop. Lifting the lid of the center armrest also reveals an additional lined storage compartment sized to fit a tablet and/or hang a full-size file. At the rear of the console, there are two additional cup holders, which include a tablet holder for rear passengers.
To keep devices charged, five USB ports reside in the center console – three up front and two in back. Three of the USB ports, including one in the rear seating area, are fully functioning and communicate with the Uconnect interface.
The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty features the second application of Uconnect 4C NAV on a 12.1-inch fully configurable touchscreen, tailor-made for various Ram models. The touchscreen can house one application, such as the navigation map, across the whole 12.1-inch screen, or can be divided in half, displaying two different screens at once. An all-new toggle switch bank lies below the touchscreen giving physical control of specific features.
The new Ram Heavy Duty lineup offers four audio systems to immerse passengers in the ultimate sound experience, including a 750-watt Harman Kardon Audio System with 17 speakers, including an 8-inch subwoofer.
The new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty features an available 7-inch, full-color, 3D animation-capable driver information display. This display is fully reconfigurable allowing each owner to display the information that is vital to them. The new screen is designed to easily communicate information quickly and efficiently using text and graphical displays.
There are three engine options in the new 2019 Ram Heavy duty. The venerable 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is gone and has been replaced by the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 as the base engine. As before the Cummins Turbo Diesel is available in 2 different power levels with the segment first 1,000 lb-ft of torque Cummins High Output optional on the 3500 models.
6.7-liter Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel reaches 1,000 lb.-ft:
The 6.7-liter Cummins inline-6 High Output Turbo Diesel gets extensive upgrades for 2019 and puts down a segment-busting 1,000 lb-ft of torque @ 1800 RPM and 400 horsepower @ 2,800 RPM. Starting at the core, the Cummins uses a new compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine block. Ram says the pistons are lighter and stronger than the outgoing 6.7-liter and feature new low-friction rings. These new pistons connect to the crankshaft via new forged connecting rods. Up top is a newly designed cast iron cylinder head with new exhaust valves, springs, and rocker arms. Bolted to that cylinder head is an all-new exhaust manifold that is the mounting point for an improved variable-geometry turbocharger with laminated heat shields, delivering boost pressure up to 33 psi. This High Output Cummins is optional on Ram 3500’s only.
The standard output Cummins inline-6 got a power boost for 2019 as well now delivering 370 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm and 850 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,700 rpm. This version of the Cummins is optional on the Ram 2500 and available as a lower cost alternative to the High Output Cummins on the Ram 3500.
6.4-liter HEMI V8 now standard on Ram Heavy Duty:
For 2019 Ram trucks is replacing the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 as the standard engine in the Ram Heavy Duties. The 6.4-liter HEMI V8 has a proven reliability record and delivers a class-leading 410 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm while providing 429 lb.-ft of torque @ 4,000 RPM. The big story with the 6.4-liter is that it will now be backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission that promises to improve capability, driveability, performance and fuel economy.
Ram 3500 Heavy Duty models equipped with the 1,000 lb.-ft. High Output Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel continue using the Aisin AS69RC six-speed automatic. This transmission is engineered to handle the enormous torque of the Turbo Diesel engine and increased vehicle weight ratings while delivering improved shift quality. The Aisin transmission does get upgraded for 2019 with hardware upgrades and a new transmission controller with a dual-core processor and twice the memory of the previous models. Ram says these changes enable the transmission to deliver faster, more precise shifts under all driving and loading conditions.
The venerable 68RFE lives on behind the standard output Cummins Turbo Diesel but gets significant upgrades for 2019. Engineers at Ram have made changes designed to improve the transmission’s shift quality utilizing new variable-force solenoid controls for the torque-converter clutch. A new reverse accumulator improves shift feel when placing the transmission into park from reverse. Drive-to-park shifts are also improved through refined hydraulic control.
In a first for the Ram Heavy Duty, the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 comes mated to the proven and smooth-shifting TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic. There are more than 40 individual shift maps to optimize shift points for fuel economy, performance, and drivability. The transmissions use shift-by-wire technology, eliminating a mechanical linkage between the transmission and the gear selector. The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty gas models get Rams innovative rotary shifter mounted on the left side of the instrument panel’s center stack – freeing up space traditionally occupied by a console or column-mounted shift lever.
Unfortunately, like other manufacturers, Ram has discontinued the manual transmission offerings. The automatic transmissions offer more capability, as well as better efficiency than the manual.
Four-wheel-drive versions of the 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty continue to use the proven BorgWarner part-time transfer case. The 6.4-liter HEMI V8 and variant of the Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel drive power through either an electronic (BorgWarner 44-46) or manual shift (BorgWarner 44-47) transfer case, depending on the model.
Ram Heavy Duty trucks with the high output version of the Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel get an all-new BorgWarner part-time transfer case, the BorgWarner 44-48. This transfer case is designed to handle the higher input loads for maximum towing capability up to 35,100 lbs.
New front and rear axles on the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty have been engineered to improve durability, handle industry-leading payload and towing capabilities, and minimize noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), as well as take advantage of opportunities to optimize weight. The Ram 3500 Heavy Duty is offered with an all-new, larger 12-inch American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) rear axle to handle the class-leading power and capability.
Ram engineered an all-new frame for the 2019 Ram Heavy duty made with 98.5 percent high-strength steel. The new frame has six separate cross-members, fully boxed rear rails, and hydroformed main rails which were built for optimal strength and mass efficiency.
As on the 2019 Ram 1500 (widely regarded as the smoothest truck on the market), Ram has added two Active-Tuned Mass Modules (ATMM) mounted on the frame rails which search out unfavorable vibrations and apply countermeasures to eliminate them.
Wide front frame rails enable front suspension springs to be positioned slightly outboard – an enabler for generating positive roll stiffness. In the rear portion of the new frame, the structure includes fully boxed rear rails. The rear-axle structural cross member has provisions for fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches and has been upgraded for 2019 to accommodate the increased towing capacity.
On vehicles equipped with the optional auxiliary camera prep package, the standard 4/7-pin bumper connector is replaced with a 12/7-pin connector to support the remote camera option (available Mopar accessory). A tailgate handle-mounted, rear high-definition camera backup system is standard with dynamic imaging on the 12-inch, 8.4-inch or 5-inch Uconnect displays with turning guidelines. Also, the cargo-view camera located in the Center High-Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL) provides a view of the bed for easier connection to fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailers, as well as monitoring bed loads.
Heavy Duty trucks generally have a suspension equipped for constant, heavy payloads. A byproduct of that is a harsher ride when unloaded. To combat that Ram is using Frequency Response Damping (FRD) shocks on all four corners. The valves of an FRD shock automatically adjust for the type of vertical wheel input, allowing the Ram Heavy Duty to have a stiffer suspension feel for handling and a supple suspension feel on rough terrain. Engineers added progressive springs and upgraded bushings to the suspension system, including the exclusive five-link coil design on Ram 2500, providing better load-carrying characteristics and improved articulation over obstacles when compared to a leaf-spring system.
A class-exclusive Active-Level rear air suspension is available on both the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 and includes some ingenious features. Controlled via an in-cab mounted toggle switch you can put the rear air suspension into bed lowering mode to lower the rear of the truck for easier loading or trailer hookup, normal/payload mode or a trailer-tow mode.
The 2019 Ram 2500 uses two air bags to replace the coil springs. Load capacity is not sacrificed, and the Ram 2500’s best-in-class ride and handling gets even better, crushing the competition with two doses of engineering innovation (five-link coil with an air suspension option).
The Ram 3500 features a Hotchkiss rear leaf-spring system with optional air suspension. By adding supplemental air bags, Ram engineers were able to soften the heavy-load leaf springs, allowing for a softer more comfortable ride when unloaded.
In the front, a new, two-piece, front-suspension cross member structure adds a longer welded interface and greater strength to the frame. The Ram Heavy Duty line features an advanced three-link front suspension to ensure roll stiffness.
The brake booster, master cylinder, and brake calipers are all new for 2019. These changes combined with a larger-ratio pedal swing, give the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty a more confident and powerful brake application with little effort from the driver. The re-engineered system also offers shorter stopping distances and braking to match the higher capability of the truck.
While many people may think that the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty is just the same cab and box from last year, they might be surprised to learn that the 2019 model has some major upgrades done to its body compared to the outgoing model. Several body elements are upgraded from mild steel to high-strength steel on the 2019 Heavy Duty pickups. Additional light-weighting efforts consist of an aluminum hood, which contributes to an overall weight reduction of 143 lbs. on the volume model.
Through wind-tunnel analyses and three million miles of real-world durability tests, engineers have created the quietest Ram Heavy Duty ever with a segment-leading drag coefficient of .409. While aerodynamics isn’t usually a factor in Heavy Duty trucks, the Ram engineering team not only wanted to improve efficiency, but they wanted to improve Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH). Upgrades that include new C-pillar hydro mounts, anti-vibration devices, new engine mounts, active noise canceling and new exhaust-system attachments all help with NVH.
Safety & Security:
For 2019 the Ram Heavy Duty pickups include more than 100 available safety and security elements, including an array of active and passive systems to assist the driver and passengers —offered in all models.
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), 360-degree camera display and selectable tire pressures are just some of the new, specialized technologies found in Ram’s halo pickup trucks. Since the Ram Heavy Duty line is engineered around capability, it makes sense that many of the technologies would be enhanced from their use in passenger cars. For example, Tire Pressure Monitoring, which can monitor up to six tires on the pickup, now includes trailer tire pressure monitoring for up to 12 trailer tires.
Although a back-up camera is a standard feature on most vehicles, the Ram Heavy Duty offers a second rear-view camera (cargo-view camera) to monitor payload in the bed. It also can be used to align fifth-wheel and gooseneck trailers, a common task of the Ram Heavy Duty pickup. As a segment-first, back-up sensors on the Ram 3500 include specifically designed sensors to cover the added width of dual rear wheels, giving a wider span of coverage when backing up with limited view.
In all the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickups are not just a refresh, they are practically new from the ground up. Ram has delivered on their goals of not just making the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty the segment leader but also set the benchmark for performance, capability, technology, and luxury for the Heavy Duty market.
“Ram Heavy Duty owners constantly demand the highest levels of capability to tackle the biggest jobs and with 35,100 lbs. of towing capacity, pulled by 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque from our Cummins engine, we now hold the most important titles within the segment,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Ram Brand, FCA. “We’ve also surrounded owners in luxury and technology that, until now, was unavailable in a heavy-duty pickup. The highest quality interiors, active safety systems and of course our award-winning Uconnect technology contribute to the best Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks we have ever built.”
Ordering for the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty lineup starts today. Prices have not been announced but will be very soon. The trucks will be arriving in dealer showrooms in March.
Big thanks to co-editor Robert Scott Miller for helping with this article.